Are We Circling Back to an Era of Quieter, Socially Aware Filmmaking?
Ron Brownstein in Conversation with Andrew Keen on Keen On
Hosted by Andrew Keen, Keen On features conversations with some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers about the economic, political, and technological issues being discussed in the news, right now.
In this episode, Andrew is joined by Ron Brownstein, the author of Rock Me on the Water: 1974—The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics, to discuss the story of one monumental year that marked the city of LA’s creative peak, as well as to explore the glittering moment when popular culture was ahead of politics in predicting what America would become.
From the episode:
Ron Brownstein: In the early 70s, I think we catch the turn in the wave. And really, this is the story of something coalescing. People in movies, music, television—even politics, with Jerry Brown and Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden—feeling they are part of a wave that is gathering, a wave of change that is moving closer to the shore and then finally reaching the shore in the early 1970s, culminating in 1974. There’s a combination of demographic change, economic incentives changing. And in many ways, that is the parallel to what I see happening now, where you have both demographic change with Gen Z and the millennials becoming the dominant generations in American life, but also streaming changing the economics of the industry in a way that is allowing them to open up to more voices.
In a world where every movie had to make 400 million dollars, I’m not sure what happens to Nomadland. But in a world where you can find it more of a niche audience on streaming, these more personal stories can get made again, like the early 70s. So in some ways, I think we could see a resurgence of the socially aware filmmaking that’s kind of been buried beneath the superhero movies, as much as I love them, because the economic incentives are changing and the demographics of the audience are changing.
Ronald Brownstein, a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of presidential campaigns, is a senior editor at The Atlantic, and a senior political analyst for CNN. He also served as the national political correspondent and national affairs columnist for the Los Angeles Times and covered he White House and national politics for the National Journal. His is the author of six previous books, most recently, The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America.